A West Virginia judge has consolidated three class actions into a single case alleging Ford Motor Co. vehicles produced between 2002 and 2010 are prone to sudden unintended acceleration. However, new Plaintiffs were not allowed to enter the suit, saying it would essentially undo much of the hard-fought prior litigation. U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers gave the Plaintiffs permission to file a consolidated complaint, in which they could include additional facts, revived claims or new claims relating to the existing Plaintiffs.
But Judge Chambers said in his opinion that their attempt to add 16 new Plaintiffs would require renewed discovery and deposition and would prejudice Ford. The judge wrote in his order:
The court agrees with Ford that the addition of these proposed plaintiffs essentially will hit the reset button to this litigation to a significant extent. Additionally, the court has no doubt that joining these proposed plaintiffs inevitably will delay resolution of this matter.
The suit was filed in March 2013 on behalf of potentially millions of Ford purchasers and lessees, claiming that Ford vehicles manufactured between 2002 and 2010 are equipped with an ETC system vulnerable to sudden unintended acceleration. The parties have been embroiled in a battle over discovery requests from the very beginning.